Gutted Jossi Wells turns focus to the halfpipe
Kiwi freeskiing star Jossi Wells is confident he can put his "disappointing" showing in Thursday's Winter Olympics slopestyle final behind him, before the halfpipe competition kicks into gear in Sochi next week.
Wells finished 11th in the first men's slopestyle event, after finishing 10th in qualification at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
His two runs in the final, for which he scored 60.60 and 50.00 respectively, both featured below-par starts and lost momentum heading into the jump section of the course.
Despite the result matching the top finish by a Kiwi on snow at the Winter Olympics since 1992, Wells was gutted with his performance after the final - but is already looking ahead to halfpipe competition.
"There was nothing wrong with my preparation or my training - [my slopestyle finish] is just the nature of the sport," the 23-year-old said.
"It's difficult to be perfect every time. If you look at the slopestyle final here, the favourites weren't the ones that won the event.
"That goes to show that it is anyone's game. I'm definitely looking forward to halfpipe now."
Wells' father, and coach, Bruce was also disappointed with the result, but conceded that was the reality of the sport.
"It was either going to be a podium or last place," he said.
"It was ‘balls to the wall, let's go' sort of stuff. Just a couple of execution errors up high in the course meant it was going to be hard getting points going down. It's a real pity because Jossi had been training so well.
"[But] when it's all on the line like that, it doesn't always work out. Like I've always said, it's like running a 100-metre dash on a tightrope. Sometimes you will fall off."
Wells' younger brother Beau-James missed out on the final, finishing 21st in what was a tense qualifying heat for skiers after several falls in the first round of runs.
Jossi Wells said it was an honour to compete in the final field with several skiers who he knew well - including eventual gold medallist Joss Christensen, who he has been good friends with since he was 13.
"It was not easy to get into the finals and I did two of the better runs I've ever done in slopestyle to get into the final," he said.
"To be up there in those top 12 riders, it was pretty cool. A lot of those guys I competed with when I first came into the scene when I was 16 or 17."
Beau-James will join his older brother in the halfpipe competition next Wednesday, along with third brother Byron.
The Southland Times